Dim Headlights on a 02 Santa Fe

Discussion in 'Hyundai Santa Fe' started by Jim L, Mar 26, 2006.

  1. Jim L

    Jim L Guest

    Ok..Let me know if anyone has a clue on this one. My daughter has been
    complaining about her headlights not being quite bright enough, so I marched
    out with my trusty voltmeter and checked it out. The negative (pink with
    white line) wire to the bulbs is sitting at 1.5 volts above 12v negative
    battery ground. I'm showing that with the engine running and 14.1 charging
    volts, the headlamps are getting an effective 12.5 volts.

    Any ideas here? Has anyone seen this before? Any help would be much

    Regards, Jim L.
    Jim L, Mar 26, 2006
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  2. Jim L

    Jim L Guest

    Update: In order to find out where my 1.5 volts was going, I pulled the
    headlight relay and substituted a jumper to ground to eliminate the relay
    and relay ground from the picture and was still missing my 1.5 volts to the
    headlamps in the way of an inadequate ground.

    In my way of thinking, this only leaves a bad headlight switch. One with
    some internal resistance.

    My neighbor has a 2001 Santa Fe, so I prevailed on him to let me measure the
    voltage on his headlamp ground and it was about .7 volts. Not monumental,
    but some less.

    So now the quandry...do I take it to Hyundai and let them tell me it is
    within acceptable limits and my daughter needs to take off her sunglasses at

    When I directly ground the headlamps, the brightness comes up measureably,
    so I could give her a switch on a ground jumper....sort of a semi
    hi-beam..:)} just joking... I could get some hi intensity headlamps and
    call it good...just thought of that one but it is sounding better just as I
    type. Anyway, Thanks for the sounding board!

    Jim L.
    Jim L, Mar 27, 2006
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  3. Jim L

    hyundaitech Guest

    I'm showing in the schematic that Red is power, White is low beam ground,
    and Gray is high beam ground. So first, I'm suspicious that you're
    testing the wrong wire (but I've also seen the schematics incorrect, so
    you could very well be on the right track, too).

    Second, before you start hunting the voltage drop, check to see whether
    the bulbs are installed correctly and the lamps are aimed well. The
    number one cause I've seen of complaints of dim or improperly aimed
    headlamps is improper bulb installation.

    As for your voltage drop, I'd suspect it's largely in the junction block.
    If you've tested everything correctly and you do indeed have a 1.5V drop on
    the ground circuit, I'd say that's too much. I also think anyone who says
    that anything more than 1V drop on this type circuit either doesn't know
    very much about automotive electricity or doesn't actually want to do the
    hyundaitech, Mar 27, 2006
  4. Jim L

    Jim L Guest

    Thankyou Hyundaitech! I haven't checked bulb installation....I need to do
    that and then actually take the vehicle out after dark to see how the aiming
    is. I appreciate you getting me back to the basics as I tend to get off on

    As far as the Ground wire, on this 02, the ground is definitely red
    (actually Pink) with a white stripe. I grounded it to the chassis with a
    jumper and the headlamp brightness came up measureably. This car is a
    special case because it was a salvaged car and even though it has under 60K
    miles, I'm afraid I may get some frowns at the dealership. I may still try
    that. All the electrical and mechanical was intact through the rollover, but
    the roof took a bit of a beating.

    Rather than replacing the junction block, I may mount a relay under the hood
    and supply a local ground through the relay when the lights are turned on.
    I talked myself out of brighter headlamps because they would just draw more
    current and my 1.5 volts would probably go up over 2 volts. I would get
    nowhere besides the fact that I would be overtaxing an already questionable

    I think I will give Hyundai a call and see what they say.

    Thanks again for your help! You are a Godsend!
    Jim L, Mar 28, 2006
  5. Jim L

    hyundaitech Guest

    If you want to post your vin, I'll check it to see if your car is listed as
    salvaged by Hyundai. If so, there won't be any warranty.
    hyundaitech, Mar 28, 2006
  6. Jim L

    Jim L Guest

    Very Cool...Thankyou!...The VIN is KMFSC13D02U226888

    Best Regards,
    Jim L.
    Jim L, Mar 29, 2006
  7. Jim L

    hyundaitech Guest

    Ran VIN KM8SC13D02U22688. Notice I changed the F to an 8. That should be

    Message from Hyundai:
    Mileage altered-- not warrantable.
    hyundaitech, Mar 29, 2006
  8. Jim L

    Mike Marlow Guest

    Note when buying used cars... Carfax is your friend.
    Mike Marlow, Mar 29, 2006
  9. Jim L

    Jim L Guest

    Thank you Hyundaitech! Your right about the VIN...sorry about that.

    Surprizes me about the Status. Maybe the warrantee was writen off for
    mileage because Hyundai lacked other options ..I'm sure the mileage is ok as
    the breaks and tires are original at 50K and I have some info from the
    previous owner. It had 30K on it when I acquired it two years ago. I
    bought this vehicle from an insurance yard for very little. These yards are
    protected from things like speedos being changed between delivery and
    auctions. It was rolled in the soft snow on one of our wintery days. I
    pulled out the headliner and pushed the top back out (can't tell now except
    from above. I replaced the windshield (the windshield frame was fine) It
    didn't even hurt the rack. Some wrinkles in the doors, but everything fits
    and opens and closes like new. The Santa Fe didn't even need an alignment.
    All the fluids were great. The original battery lasted until this winter.
    This great car has been virtually trouble free for two years and I don't
    consider this headlight thing a big issue. I will take care of it this
    weekend. (I'm a technician with a lot of automotive electronics experience).
    I will put in a relay to take the low beams to ground locally (to the lamps)
    I really want to max the current to the lamps and even .7 volts loss is more
    than I want to deal with. 100 ma. through the coil of a relay rather than
    the 5 to 6 amps of lamp current should make that original switched ground
    path last the life of the car.

    Really, this car owes me nothing and not having a warrantee is not an
    issue...it would have been a bonus, but I don't really believe I deserve it.

    My daughter loves this car and when we first got it for her, she wanted me
    to get the doors fixed and get it painted. Now, she has decided she likes
    it just the way it is. She can park it in downtown Seattle and not worry
    about door dings. When she gets on the freeway, people give her plenty of
    room. Inside it is luxurious, quiet, and is really reliable.

    I am sold on these cars!
    Thanks again Hyundai Tech!

    Jim L.
    Jim L, Mar 30, 2006
  10. Jim L

    hyundaitech Guest

    Maybe they just classified it incorrectly and meant to classify it as
    salvage. Dunno.
    hyundaitech, Mar 30, 2006
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